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archive for baking

weekend jollies

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

Recipe: strawberry cinnamon rolls

Jeremy and I usually spend our weekends working because that’s when all of our favorite places tend to be the busiest. But after a long day of shooting (for me) and editing a scientific paper (Jeremy), we needed to get out for a break. My idea of a break is exercise in the great outdoors. And they really were great that evening, touting some of the finest spring conditions I’ve enjoyed in a long while.


there were clouds all around except for one giant blue sucker hole above us

excellent snow (fast, yet good grip for climbing)

skiing back to the car, we ran into a few thin spots



And then we got 8 inches of snow on Sunday. I’m not complaining! We usually get a big dump of snow the day AFTER our local ski hill closes for the season. At least this time it was on closing day. My friend, Sarah, asked me on Friday what I was going to do now that ski season (she meant resort ski season) was drawing to a close. I smiled and said, “BACKCOUNTRY skiing!” That’s part of the reason I wasn’t freaking out about skipping closing day. I wasn’t skiing it because of that whole weekend-crowds-bad-timing-of-the-powder thing AND because I was busy making a mess at home. But what a delicious mess it was…

dough: flour, vanilla, milk, eggs, butter, sugar, salt, yeast

pour the yeast over the warmed milk

mix in the sugar, butter, eggs, salt, and vanilla



**Jump for more butter**

delicate

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Recipe: almond lace cookies

Over the years, I’ve come to the conclusion that most of the foods I liked as a kid that came from the supermarket shelves are highly overrated. I’m sure you are familiar with the situation. You’re standing in the cookie aisle of the grocery store and you see a familiar brand. You buy it with an anticipation that is stirred by nostalgia. And the moment you take a bite you think, “This just isn’t as good as I remembered.” I find that time and again, the things I make at home are ten times better than what I can get from those shelves. Surprisingly, the recipes aren’t necessarily all that difficult! Take almond lace cookies, for instance. Super easy to make, a little dangerous, and you can skip the shipping step that breaks them into tiny shards!


you will need: flour, salt, sugar, butter, vanilla, almonds, light corn syrup

grind the blanched almonds to a fine meal



These crisp, buttery, nutty wafers come together in no time flat. It’s basically melting butter and sugars together, then stirring everything else in. The resulting batter is thick and oily (from the butter) and smells fantastic. Definitely line your baking sheets with silpat or parchment paper, lest you want molten sugar to adhere to your pans.

melt the butter, sugar, and light corn syrup together

stir in the flour and salt

stir in the almonds

add vanilla



**Jump for more butter**

go go greens

Sunday, March 23rd, 2014

Recipe: spanakopita

March has not forsaken us! Four inches of snow preserved by overnight lows to -10°F made for some solid spring skiing this weekend in Crested Butte. Aaaand there’s more to come – yippee!!! But the season is definitely on the move. Despite the appearance of winter on the ground here, the sun and skies tell a different story. Clouds and weather are more dynamic with the increased warming of the atmosphere thanks to our sun that wants to hang out more and more each day. In the backcountry, you can smell streams and plants even though you may not see them under all of that snow. And flying insects! We’ve seen several lazily buzzing through the air as if they were trying to recover from the drunken stupor that was winter. It’s all good. It really is.


skiing toward an approaching storm

tracking up the fresh stuff

sunset on mount whetstone



Spring cleaning applies to everything for me – from closets to pantries to hard-to-recycle items to gear to computer files… I’ve been in a slow motion spring cleaning mode since October and I finally got around to culling and sorting my gabillion computer files (mostly photos) last week. I am not even close to being done as it takes a while to sift through terabytes of data. But I did unearth a recipe for spanakopita (Greek spinach pie) I have been meaning to post since I shot it a few years ago. It seems rather fitting for this time of year. Or maybe I’m just really hungry after all that skiing.

feta, spinach, eggs, farina, butter, more butter, parsley, dill, green onions (not pictured: phyllo dough, salt)



The hardest part of making spanakopita is handling the phyllo dough, but it’s not that hard. I’ve been using it since fourth grade (we learned to make baklava in 4-H) and have dealt with a lot of store-bought phyllo dough. The tricks are to: 1) thaw the frozen dough in the refrigerator for 24 hours 2) keep a damp (not wet!) towel over the sheets of dough to prevent drying out and 3) buy a reliable brand. I tried using an organic phyllo dough from Whole Foods and it made me cuss like a sailor. It stuck together, tore, and was really difficult to work with, despite following all of the instructions to thaw it properly. I’ve had mixed results with some national brands like Athens. The main thing is that you don’t want the sheets to stick together. The best one I’ve dealt with? Safeway’s brand. The point is that you’ll need to determine what works best for you.

beat the eggs, chop the green onions, mince the herbs

adding sautéed green onions to the feta, spinach, herbs, and farina

pour in the beaten eggs

mix it all together



**Jump for more butter**